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Saturday, 10 September 2016

Retro Review: Dance With Death (1992)

Dance With Death
Cast: Maxwell Caulified, Barbara Alyn Woods, Martin Mull, Lisa Kudrow, Catya Sassoon, Michael McDonald
Genre: Thriller

Plot:  A Los Angeles detective (Maxwell Caulified) checks out stripper slayings with a journalist posing as a topless dancer (Barbara Alyn Woods)

'A Crappier Version of Stripped To Kill'

It seems as though with every movie that deals with a police officer or reporter going undercover as a stripper it always tends to be female, more so than males. In so-called B/C -movies, directors and writers duly emphasise that besides the seedy nature of this profession, there is also a dangerous side to it. In Stripped to Kill, a killer murders other female strippers and a cop poses as a stripper to investigate the murder. 

Dance With Death is one of those other stripper slasher erotic movies that is filed under 'very poor'. Looking at the cover/poster of this movie, that woman doesn't even resemble the main actress who stars in this film. Far from it. 

This has virtually a similar premise as Stripped to kill: take a female journalist/cop going undercover at a strip joint to gather up info on a murder by posing as a dancer and having her take her clothes off. In fact, it has Katt Shea penning the screenplay for this movie: the same writer who was responsible for 1987's Stripped to Kill. She claimed that producer Roger Corman - who also produced this movie - took credit for her work and re-used, tweaked it for Stripped to Kill, - and that Katt didn't get paid for it. & so, she came out with this movie. 

But that is where most of the similarities end. This movie has none of the tension, suspense, nor any of the interesting scenes and plot twists of Stripped to Kill, but rather amateurish acting, notably with the guy from Roseanne making out with some woman in bed. It doesn't have interesting characters and the writing throughout is just abysmal. You know when a movie of this nature is so incredibly awful one just fast forwards to the nude scenes. The actor playing the female protagonist's older boyfriend is woefully miscast - he looks old enough to be and can be easily mistaken as her father. The characters in this movie are bland, the main female lead and male lead, Kelly (Barbara Alyn Woods) and Shaughnessy (Maxwell Caulfield of Grease 2) have virtually nothing on Kay Lenz's Cody and Greg Evigan's Henneman from Stripped to Kill. Not once during this film did I remotely sense any sexual chemistry between Kelly and Shaughnessy (especially when they got together), or felt any inclination there were hints leading up to that. It just felt so unconvincing and forced. And I know I wasn't impressed with the music in Stripped to Kill, but boy the music they play in the strip club in this movie was awful. It sounded like really crappy country music or something. 

And just like with the latter, the male character - a cop, who works alongside the female lead, becomes jealous and he ends up falling for her and they end up sleeping with each other. There was an odd twist towards the end of the film involving the cop: I won't spoil it for you, but I will say as far as plot twists go, this one didn't really make a lot of sense as to why it happened. The movie just descends into Friday the 13th mode for no apparent reason.

There is an early appearance of Lisa Kudrow who later became Phoebe from the TV show, Friends in this movie. But I bet you this is a film she wishes other people would forget. I know I would.

Final Verdict:

This is nothing more than a carbon copy of Stripped to Kill with all the best bits removed. It doesn't offer much in a way of an erotic thriller-slasher movie that we haven't seen before at all, or even attempt to be bold and adventurous and go over-the-top-yet still remain watchable. 

The script is absolutely dreadful, consisting of wooden performances that are so bad you'd end up asking yourself 'what is this?' and the twists towards the end, whilst it was unexpected, didn't make much sense whatsoever and truthfully speaking, I thought it was terrible as well. 

If you are looking for a decent stripper slasher film that has some watch-ability factor, I recommend that you watch Stripped To Kill and avoid this piece of crud. 


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